Statement attributable to:
Jacqueline W. Fincher, MD, MACP
President, American College of Physicians
Washington, D.C. April 8, 2021 – The American College of Physicians (ACP) believes that the actions announced today by President Biden will advance the goal of reducing deaths and injuries from firearms and keeping the public safer.
As physicians we are too often confronted with effects of the public health epidemic of gun violence on our patients, our communities, our profession, and our own families. In the past year, even as the US has been fighting a global pandemic, injuries and deaths from firearms increased more than any other year in the past two decades. Advocating for policies, like those announced today, to reduce the toll of these injuries and deaths is in the medical profession's lane—this is our lane—as is any issue the causes harm to our patients and could be prevented by sound public policy.
Today’s actions are consistent with the types of recommendations that ACP put forward in our 2018 policy paper Reducing Firearm-Related Injuries and Deaths in the U.S. In the paper, ACP offered evidence-based recommendations to help improve the laws surrounding background checks and policies that would reduce firearms-related deaths and injuries. We applaud President Biden for addressing this public health epidemic by dedicating specific time, resources, and funds to the issue.
Specifically, we support the following:
- Regulating “ghost guns,” which are difficult to track and trace.
- Applying National Firearms Act regulations to stabilizing brace devices that could alter a pistol into a short-barreled rifle, which can make a concealable firearm more dangerous by making them more stable and accurate.
- Developing model “red flag” legislation for states to use. Extreme risk protection orders allow family or law enforcement to intervene when there are warning signs that a person is experiencing a temporary crisis, helping to keep the individual and those around them safer.
- Increased funding for community violence intervention programs as proposed in the American Jobs Plan.
- Requiring that the federal government issue a new annual report on firearms trafficking. More research is needed on firearm violence and on intervention and prevention strategies to reduce injuries caused by firearms and additional data from the Department of Justice would help in that effort.
As essential as these actions are, there are limits to what any administration can do absent congressional action. ACP believes more is required and recommends a public health approach to firearms-related violence and the prevention of firearm injuries and deaths. In addition to the measures released today by President Biden, we call on Congress to enact legislation to require universal background checks and to also ban assault weapons. Deaths and injuries from firearms are avoidable and preventable. Changing the laws that surround the purchase and use of guns, in ways that are fully consistent with the second amendment, is something that must be done in order to end this crisis that America is facing.
Contact: Taneishia Bundy, (202) 261-4523, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the American College of Physicians
The American College of Physicians is the largest medical specialty organization in the United States with members in more than 145 countries worldwide. ACP membership includes 163,000 internal medicine physicians (internists), related subspecialists, and medical students. Internal medicine physicians are specialists who apply scientific knowledge and clinical expertise to the diagnosis, treatment, and compassionate care of adults across the spectrum from health to complex illness. Follow ACP on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.